Two Years of Freedom

I’m finally free- 

free from the bondage of food

now I eat to LIVE 

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Today marks 2 years since I found food freedom!  Two years ago today, I embarked on a new way of eating- a plan called “Trim Healthy Mama”, developed by two fabulous sisters named Pearl and Serene.

Before I tried THM, I was a slave to numbers- counting and imputing the calories of everything I ate in my phone apps.  Counting how many calories I would burn on the treadmill or the elliptical.  Food was a reward and a punishment for me.  And the guilt I experienced when I skipped a day of working out, or when I would eat something indulgent was ridiculous.

And even though I did all the things I thought would help me reach a healthy weight- the weight loss never came.  Just a feeling of discouragement.  I couldn’t lose a pound- no matter how little I restricted my calories and how much I would work out. I was exhausted all the time and miserable.

But two years ago, I traded in all those habits for something NEW!  I got rid of those calorie counting apps, and ditched the scale.  I stopped counting calories and I stopped working out completely for a while.  I cut out sugar and bread.  I ate well balanced meals with lots of protein, veggies, and occasional healthy grains.

I traded in my sugary creamers for stevia and half and half in my coffee- and I actually love it that way now!

I lost about 35 pounds in 8 months, but I gained so much more!  For the last two years, I have learned how to eat to live instead of living to eat.  I feel better than I have in years, and I have stayed at a healthy weight for the last year and a half without much effort.

I am praising the LORD tonight for the freedom I have found from food!

I know not everything works for everyone- but if you have struggled with weight loss or self control when it comes to food, I would highly recommend you look up THM.  The rules are simple- eat protein at every meal, only eat every 3 hours, and have healthy fats OR healthy carbs with your protein at every meal.  Never mix fats and carbs together if you are trying to reach a healthy weight.  That’s the basic idea of the eating plan.  No special ingredients are needed.  It’s that simple!

If I can do it- anyone can do it!  In fact, my whole family has decided to do it with me beginning tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the changes in my family as they begin their journey with me in 2019!

And fyi- the newest book- Trim Healthy Table is available as an ebook at Barnes and Noble for  $1.99!  That’s a steal of a deal!!  Here’s a link-

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trim-healthy-mamas-trim-healthy-table-pearl-barrett/1126396593?ean=9780804189996&st=PLA&sid=BNB_NOOK+EBooks&sourceId=PLAGoNA&dpid=tdtve346c&2sid=Google_c&gclid=Cj0KCQiAmafhBRDUARIsACOKERPxw2Q8i_9YNOFQX8xGGSaUB-fC5pGMLXwl8JFm15onx-nzFrGE2oEaAvZDEALw_wcB#/

I hope all of you have a very blessed New Year!!!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  

2 Corinthians 5:17

ice cream is a necessity

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Since I was a kid, I have had a love affair with ice cream.

A friend through thick and thin, ice cream was always there for me in my time of need.  Summer heat and need a treat? Ice cream to the rescue.  Boyfriend breakup and need a pick-me-up?  Ice cream always did the trick.   True story… when I was in college, I noticed that the roof of my mouth began to peel.  Thinking I had some sort of disease, I asked the dentist about my issue and sure enough- too much ice cream was the culprit!

Eventually, I realized that moderation was the key when it comes to enjoying my ice cream.  And it’s so awesome that we have tons of great options- even for those who are watching their carbs- like Halo Top ice cream!

 

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My personal favorite- Chocolate Covered Banana 🙂

I happened to be in the grocery store yesterday evening and like always, I bumped into someone I knew.  We chatted for a few minutes and caught up on life, and then I noticed a mom and her middle school aged son hovering around the ice cream.  Mom was looking for the staples- milk, eggs… while son’s eyes were glued to the hundreds of cartons of ice cream.

“Mom, WE NEED SOME ICE CREAM!”

I heard the desperation in his voice.

“Honey- we do not NEED ice cream.  Now come on.”

 “But mom.  We NEED ice cream!”  A brief second later, he looked in my direction and I could see it written all over his face.  He was losing hope.  He needed some help.

I did what any ice cream lover would do…

I looked at the mom and smiled as I said, “I have to agree with your son.  Ice cream is definitely a NEED when it’s 100 degrees outside.”

The mom paused for just a second, and then gave the go ahead.  Junior got him a carton of heaven… umm…I mean ice cream.

I think often about how short life is, and how we have to enjoy the little things.

Ice cream is definitely one of them.

 

Starbucks ain’t got nothin’ on me

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Ok, I admit that I have been rolling through that Starbucks drive-thru a little too frequently.  They just so happen to offer something fabulous for those of us who follow the Trim Healthy Mama approach to food- bacon and gouda sous vide egg bites!  They are so so good that I literally crave them.  And you can’t go to SB without getting coffee, too…. so I had to act fast and do something to protect my financial well being!  I decided to find a copy-cat recipe for these miraculous egg concoctions… and this one is a WINNER!!!!

All you need to make these little bites of heaven are an

-instant pot (have I told you how much I love love love my instant pot!?!)

-a silicone insert that I bought on amazon pretty cheap

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*I did make a couple of changes to the above recipe- I didn’t have sun-dried tomatoes, so I left them out; and I also added shredded gouda cheese instead of cheddar cheese… and BACON!!  I cooked a few slices of bacon and crumbled up 1/4 a slice and put in the bottom of the silicone mold before I poured the egg mixture on top of it… it was perfection!

These egg bites are magical.  They are silky smooth, jiggly, and almost have a cheesecake- like texture.  And the most amazing part is that you can keep them in the fridge for several days, reheat them, and they are JUST AS GOOD as they are the moment you take them out of the instant pot!  These are so good that my whole family battles over who gets the last one!

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my very first batch… a SUCCESS!! 

And to finish my at-home Starbucks experience, my wonderful hubby got me a milk frother.  This thing has turned my morning cup of joe into HEAVEN!

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My favorite Starbucks drink is a breve flat-white.  This is espresso topped with steamed half and half.  It is so so good.  I made a strong cup of coffee and then poured my half and half into a tall glass.  I used the little hand frother and within seconds, the half and half began to thicken up. I poured it into my cup of coffee, added a little monk fruit, some cinnamon… and VOILA-

Starbucks ain’t got nothin’ on me!

Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing;

You hold my future-  Psalm 16:6

 

Free at last

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I am free 

like a bird 

flying high I soar 

because I’m not

weighed down 

anymore 

the chains

broke 

the shackles

fell 

and I am feeling- 

pretty swell 

because you see- 

I am finally 

free

New Year’s Eve marked the one year anniversary that I began following the Trim Healthy Mama plan. It has been a year of food freedom for me- but so much more than that!  For years I have been a slave to counting calories- how many calories I consume at each meal and how many calories I burn at each workout.  Even on the days when I would “take a break”… I would still keep a running tab in my head.

And the worst part of it all?  None of that effort made any difference!  No matter how much I worked out, no matter how carefully I watched my calorie intake- I couldn’t lose a pound to save my life!!  For years I felt defeated and discouraged.  My body hurt all the time and I had no energy.

I have my friend, Natalee to thank for introducing me to the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  Just give it a try, she told me.  So I began reading about it and checking out recipes on Pinterest.  I started looking for ways to make the things I already eat fit in with the program. And the great things is that I have found ways to eat everything I love!

For all of 2017, I have not counted a single calorie! That is a miracle for me!  And I have worked out less this past year than I have in the last 15 years!  And praise the Lord- at 40,  I feel better than ever!  I have lost 35 pounds over this past year and I have gained so much more-

-balance 

-food freedom 

-freedom from the scale 

-self confidence

Thank God Almighty-  I am free at last!!

 

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36 

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finish your own sentences

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While I am not slim by any means, I do try to take care of myself.  I watch what I eat and exercise at least 4-5 times a week.  My girls have joined me in this quest to be in the best shape we can be, and so the three of us- along with one of the girls’ friends- went to run/walk at a local track.

I was so proud of the girls!  They kept on going, even when they got tired.  They commented that they stopped before they had wanted to.  But you showed up-I told them in my best “Jillian Michaels” voice… I’m proud of you!

As I ran, I passed by two elderly ladies.  They seemed quite surprised that a girl of my size was running, and I could tell that each time I passed them they made comments about me. I know I don’t look like an athlete or anything, but I am healthy.  The last lap I heard them say “That girl in front of us- that girl with those big wide hips…”

Fortunately, that was all I heard before I was out of ear shot of their comment.  Usually, that’s all it takes to get me in a bad mood… to discourage me from working out in front of other people.  Honestly, I didn’t know how they finished that sentence, but I had a feeling it was not positive.  But 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ!  As I kept running, He told me to finish it…

And so as I jogged along, He brought to mind all of the things that I’ve accomplished, and all I have to be thankful for…

 this girl with those big, wide hips-

-is BLESSED to be ALIVE and have breath in her lungs and legs to RUN with

-has given birth to two awesome, amazing girls

-lost over 100 lbs before I had my children

-loves her curves… because that’s the way He made me

-is trying to set a good example for her girls by taking the best care of her body that she can

-got a college degree and worked multiple jobs to pay for it (and I’m STILL paying those loans!!)

-knows where to find her SELF-WORTH…. in CHRIST ALONE!

-has a stronger walk with the Lord than ever before

You- yes, YOU,  are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Don’t let anyone else try to finish your sentence.  Give God that pen and let Him write it for you.  By His grace, He will turn it into something beautiful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end-  Ecclesiastes 3:11

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One size fits all

Photo on 8-30-13 at 12.14 PMThere once was a mom from the ‘ville 

She was so cool, she was “chill” 

too fly to keep junk

in her mini-van’s trunk 

She finally took those bags to Goodwill!

I had a little “aha” moment today…  It’s not all that life changing- but it was for me!

I sat in my youngest daughter’s room and folded clothes with her.  Her room is an absolute pigsty.  Her biggest hurdle is that her bigger sister passes down all her clothes to her, so she has lots of things in her room that will eventually fit.. that almost fit… along with the many things that she is able to wear.  Then she is also given a few things by friends which she refuses to get rid of- because in her mind, those clothes are pieces of her friends… they remind her of them.  And so I told her this morning-

“We are getting rid of EVERYTHING that you do not wear TODAY.  EVERYTHING!!”

It was completely a God thing, because she shrugged her shoulders and just simply said “ok”. Let me just simply say- that NEVER happens…

I continued to tell her all this “stuff” in her room was getting in the way of all the things that she actually could wear RIGHT NOW…that look great TODAY.

And one by one, she folded and gave away many pieces that she loved, but that did not fit her.

Seeing how easy this (usually) daunting task was for us today inspired me to practice what I was preaching to my daughter.

I pulled out a dress I wore when I first found out I was pregnant with my first daughter – after I had lost 100 lbs and was in the best shape of my life. I loved that dress… but not as much as I love my daughter.  And why do I want to keep a reminder of the body that I will never have again?  I folded the dress and put it in the bag.

I pulled on a pair of pants that were a little snug.  I loved this pair of pants… the soft cotton felt like velvet on my skin…but once again, they were not flattering. I folded them and put them in a bag.

Do you watch survivor?  You know that final walk where the remaining contestants walk and remember all the other contestants that left before them?  That is sort of what I did today.  I took a walk down memory lane… and it’s not the actual pieces of clothing that I love… it’s the memories I made while I was in them.  And no one can take those away from me.

And I realized- again– that I need stop longing for how I used to look, for the size that I am not…and love me for me.

Today I’m thankful that love comes in “one size fits all”!!

Above all, clothe yourselves with love-  Colossians 3:14

Breaking the (food) chain

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peel me like an onion

heavy on the layers

I shed the outer skin

as I go to You in prayer

crying as I’m sliced up

a little more, I’m diced up 

I’m ready for the next plan

dump me in the pan

straight into the fryer 

turn the heat up higher

cook me till I’m done 

I’m in refiner’s fire

the hotter I’m becoming 

the more clearly I can see

molting all these layers 

leads me to transparency 

Tears welled in my eyes as I sliced the onion in half. I broke through that top layer of skin, and the tears freely flowed down my face.  Onions have a funny way of doing that to me.

I tossed them into the hot frying pan to sauté them. They sizzled as I stirred them back and forth. I was no longer tearing up, but noticed the sweetness of the aroma.  After they had been sautéd, their translucency was striking.  

Isn’t it something that an onion could be so drastically different in appearance, in taste, aroma, and in sight- after experiencing a little bit of “heat”?  Honestly, I don’t like being uncomfortable.  That’s why we all like comfort food, right?  It makes us feel good.  But it’s only an emotional reaction- not the real thing.

For  my entire life, I have used food for reward, punishment, pleasure, and emotional comfort.

I’m tired of being comfortable. I want to be all God wants me to be- and I really do believe that He wants me to be free from this ridiculous food obsession.

I woke up this morning, ready to cook some eggs, and I tried to tell myself that it was what I really wanted for breakfast.  Not true. I really just wanted a ginormous bowl of oatmeal.  But more than oatmeal, I want to break that chain…the never ending cycle of obsessing over food and using food for comfort.

And the only answer is more Jesus. And less self-gratification.

Less of me (literally and figuratively)…more of Him.

I’ve jumped into the frying pan with both feet, I’m feeling the heat, and I’m ready to be changed!

God- make me uncomfortable so I find comfort in YOU not FOOD! 

eat to live, not live to eat

There is power in His Name to break every chain!

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 

Love Lifted Me

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…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:29 

I adore little moments with my husband that bring me back to the early years… the days B.C. (before children) When we had so much free time, did lots of fun things, and simply enjoyed being together.   

We used to go to the gym together every evening -it was one of our favorite things to do.  That was like 14 or 15 years ago. Literally. I can’t even believe how fast time is flying by…

So, one recent evening, my dear husband listened to me whine again about how discouraged I am with my fitness routine, and that despite putting in lots of effort- I am not seeing any results. So he lovingly asked me “Why don’t you start lifting again? I can help you!”  

The last thing I really wanted was for him to show me how to do anything fitness related. After all, I used to be a certified fitness instructor…sheesh… 

I hesitantly agreed to be his “client”.  

And from our very first “lifting” session, I saw that old smile on his face.  You know- the care-free, laid back smile of the ole’ B.C. (before children) days… and he looked as young as the day we met.  And for those 45 minutes, it was as if we had gone back in time.

My husband may not be the fittest, or have any previous knowledge in how to train someone… but one thing is for sure.  He loves me and he believes in me- even when I don’t. When I think I can’t lift another pound, he is right there- cheering me on.  Helping me.  Encouraging me.  

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Slowly, I am remembering what it used to feel like to work out with a purpose! Remembering how strong I used to feel. Remembering what it was like to work out with passion- and to push myself farther than I thought was possible.  

And I must admit- I am learning to love lifting weights again.  Learning to love how strong God made the human body. And I love sharing this again with my husband- something that not only brings us closer together, but that is good for our health- one that will help us have many more years together.  

And to think I almost didn’t take him up on his offer to be my “coach”… 

Honestly, other than Jesus- who is better than my husband to turn to for support and encouragement?  

I told my husband I have faith again. Faith that I CAN do this. I feel stronger than I have in years. And even though I still don’t see any fruit from my labor, I know that He is strengthening me in more ways than I see.  Strengthening my body, my mind, and my soul; helping me to persevere… and the best part of all- He is strengthening my relationship with my B.H. – bestest hubby!

blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:29 

 Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help

Love lifted me!

A Love Note- Hair today, gone tomorrow

I shed.

A lot.

One day I was standing in the shower, and noticed a wad of hair stuck to the shower wall.   Except that it was not just a normal wad of hair… it strangely resembled the letters EWW.

“Did you see the note I left for you?”  my husband asked me later that morning.

“Yes, yes I did.” I realized that my husband did, in fact, leave me a “hair” note in the shower.

And so the next day, I left him my own little note-

I  (heart) U

Why yes, we have taken to leaving notes in the shower with my hair.

This has continued on and off for many months now.  I admit that when I see my hair stuck to the wall, I can’t help giggling thinking about what to spell with it!

I decide today to leave him a “selfie”.  No, that is not Marge Simpson in that picture below.  It is a self portrait of me- made with love for my husband on our shower wall.   I watched my husband go towards the bathroom and I told him that I left him a note.  He did not disappoint.  I think the whole house shook with his gregarious laughter.

And like a flower quickly fading, my hair portrait is hair today and gone tomorrow.

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